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Contact: Jonathan Evershed – 07969 857 535
STUDENT OCCUPATION AT THE SCHOOL OF ORIENTAL AND AFRICAN STUDIES ENTERS FOURTH DAY
The student occupation of the Brunei Gallery Suite at the School of Oriental and African Studies has now entered its fourth day, following waves of student and school pupil protests across the country yesterday against government plans to cut higher education funding and raise the cap on tuition fees to as much as £9,000. Following the national day of action, occupations are now underway at sixteen UK universities.
Occupiers at SOAS now face a legal battle with the university management after an injunction and an application for a possession order were served on the occupation at 1pm yesterday. An appeal to the High Court for an adjournment was successful, giving students 24 hours to seek legal advice. The students must now wait until the case is re-convened at the Royal Courts of Justice at 2pm this afternoon to discover the future fate of the occupation. The university management has so-far refused to negotiate directly with occupiers, but students in the Brunei Suite have received support from staff and union branches within the university.
Despite the legal challenge to the occupation, occupiers’ spirits remain high. The number of occupiers staying in the suite continues to grow, and a series of speeches and music were hosted in the occupied space last night. Several events have been planned for today, culminating with a talk by Jeremy Corbyn MP scheduled for 7pm.
Jon Evershed, one of the occupying students said,
“The movement is really gathering momentum, which is indicative of the strength of feeling within the student body on this issue. We’re seeing more and more students at SOAS wanting to get involved with the occupation. The huge numbers of students involved in protests throughout the country yesterday, and the growing number of universities that are now being occupied by their students demonstrates just how angry young people are about the government’s plans for higher education.
“The legal position we find ourselves in is worrying, and I find the fact that the university management has resorted to such extreme measures without having given us an opportunity to negotiate with them first deeply troubling. This is an issue on which staff and students should be united, and I feel the management should be prepared to consult with us on our demands.”
The hearing will take place at 2pm this afternoon in Court 60, the Thomas Moore Building, the Royal Courts of Justice, Mr Justice Henderson presiding